After all the fun, togetherness and partying of the festive season, January can feel a bit blue. Dark mornings and evenings, plus day after day of winter weather might also dampen your spirits. But let’s not get too down in the dumps. There are plenty of ways to brighten January – and remember that spring is just around the corner.
Here we suggest 10 great ways to bring some joy to January:
1) Go outdoors: Being outside will lift your spirits, even if it’s not sunny. If it’s a wild weather day simply wrap up in warm and waterproof outdoor clothing and enjoy the experience of being outdoors. If it’s a blue-sky day, enjoy the bright lights and the contrast of winter scenery against the blue background. Research shows that a short time spent outdoors, amid nature, each day can help to beat the winter blues.
2) Walk on the wild side: Your walk doesn’t need to be long but it’s better if it is dramatic. Head to the coast for a windswept beach walk and savour the crashing waves. Search out a waymarked trail and enjoy easier walking navigation amid stunning high-rise landscapes. Or walk through an urban park, and enjoy the experience of being somewhere just a short distance from normal everyday life. Walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise and can be a group activity with friends and or family.
3) Ride trail centres: Winter might not be the time for exploring off-the-beaten track routes but trail centres at local forests and woodlands are still open for business. Even when the weather is poor, you’ll find lots of shelter on tree-lined trails. Pick a graded route to suit your ability and fitness levels. And if that won’t cheer you up, most centres also boast great cafes for post-ride hot chocolate and cake.
4) Retail therapy: You are probably all shopped out after Christmas (and buying gifts for everyone else) but the January sales offer the perfect opportunity to buy yourself a present. Treating yourself – or family members – to something new to wear or use when walking or cycling is always such a mood booster.
5) Mud and puddles: There is no escaping the mucky weather and terrain of January so why not embrace it? If you are wearing waterproof jackets and trousers, as well as waterproof walking boots or wellies you will not get too dirty on the underneath. And if you are dressed for the occasion you can happily stomp through mud and puddles and even have a wee roll down a hillside. It will all clean or wash off afterwards anyway!
6) Meet with friends: Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself, and the family, to go outdoors when it’s bitterly cold. So set a date with your favourite people, decide on an adventure and keep to the date. It’s easier to go out and do something if you have committed to a play-date with someone else.
7) Join a club: There are plenty of likeminded people who enjoy active activities such as walking, cycling or more mind stimulating activities such as board games or puzzles. And being part of a club gives you access to motivating guides, coaches and new friends. Why not make January your month for joining a new club?
8) Do something different: Many people make a New Year’s resolution to try a new activity or take up a new sport – and then wait until spring or summer to give it a go. So why not find something different to do in winter? How about kayaking or mountain biking at night, Stand Up Paddleboarding or surfing, a winter navigation course or skiing or snowboarding Did you know that Scotland has five ski resorts? (click here)
9) Book a holiday: There is little better than the sweet joy of clicking the “reserve” button or paying the deposit on a much-wanted holiday. You could choose to join the trend of recent years for UK staycations and enjoy your first walking or glamping holiday with your family. Then, you’ll find you suddenly have the motivation to get out more in January, February and March to become a fitter and ‘at one with nature.’
10) Pamper yourself: It's easy to beat yourself up in January, but be a friend to yourself and give yourself a break! Run yourself a bubble bath, watch a favourite feel-good film, cook up a yummy meal - there are lots of ways to give yourself a quick cheer up that don't break the bank. And if you're not quite on track with your new year's resolutions - well - we won't tell anyone if you don't 😉
So turn that frown upside down and before you know it, spring will be blooming…